The journey of Beyoncé’s sparkly “Renaissance” tour cowboy hat, which was all over the internet last week, began in the humble basement of Abby Misbin’s childhood home in suburban Pennsylvania.
Misbin, known online by her business name, Trending by Abby, calls the basement “the hat bunker.” From her parents’ house in Ambler, Pennsylvania, Misbin runs her modest Etsy shop selling custom-made cowboy hats.
Last week, one of Misbin’s creations suddenly went viral after her disco-ball cowboy hat crowned Beyoncé’s head for the announcement of her “Renaissance” world tour.
“I’m in a Twitter group chat, and someone shared the tweet, and everyone’s like, ‘Is that it? Is that it?’,” Misbin told the Los Angeles Times on Friday, recalling the morning the tour poster dropped and showed Beyoncé wearing the hat. “I woke up and was like, ‘That’s definitely it.’ I remember holding it and now I can see it on her, in close up.”
As fans fawned over the tour poster and scrambled to sign up for ticket sales after the Wednesday announcement, one of Misbin’s friends agreed to help her get credit for her work.
The friend started dropping comments on fan pages for Beyoncé, telling people it was Misbin who made the hat and linked to her Etsy page. In exchange, the friend got a free disco hat and some cash. Suddenly, the Beyhive started to rush to Misbin’s Etsy page, hoping to grab their own hat.
Misbin typically sold several hats a week. But in a single day this week, she sold all 60 disco ball hats, which ranged from $100 to $200, with hundreds of other orders waiting in the queue.
Her started her business in late 2020 amid a TikTok trend of people going to parties wearing cowboy hats with alcohol logos plastered on the front. Some of Misbin’s early creations featured a light-up Bud Light hat and a red, feathery Fireball hat. Other designs included university logos and sororities. Her friends would model them at parties, sports games and music festivals.
The idea for the disco hat came in early 2022 from one of her friends who suggested Misbin coat one of her hats entirely in mirror-ball tiles.
The painstaking process requires each hat to have about 15,000 mirror tiles. Misbin places each glassy piece onto the hat’s surface, one at a time.
In June, the disco hat somehow caught the eye of one of Beyoncé’s stylists, the Hollywood-based costume designer B. Akerlund, who messaged Misbin on Etsy, where she has racked up more than 2,300 sales and has around 700 followers on Instagram. The stylist requested one of the hats for an upcoming, untitled Beyoncé project.
As a part of the “Yeehaw Agenda,” Beyoncé has been known to rock the Black Western aesthetic in recent years. The look was heavily featured in her Ivy Park Rodeo campaign with Adidas, which was “inspired by the inimitable style and undeniable influence of Black cowboys and cowgirls.”
“I stayed up all night to make the hat and then express shipped it to her,” Misbin said, noting that she sold it for $250.
But the payoff didn’t really happen until August, with the release of Beyoncé’s music video teaser for her song “I’m That Girl.” Misbin’s hat appears on Beyoncé for only a split second, but the cameo was enough to boost sales — but they skyrocketed last week.
On Friday morning, her mom called and woke her up to tell her that her Etsy business and her hat made an appearance on “Good Morning America.” Then Misbin made the 45-minute commute from her new apartment in Philadelphia to her parent’s home to get back to work in the “hat bunker.”
After listing several more fresh hats online Friday morning, buyers snatched them up within 15 minutes. With each hat taking around four hours to make, she is telling her patrons that production will now take two to three months, still in time for Beyoncé’s tour, which kicks off in May.
Misbin has no plans to hire employees to help meet the production demands for the hats. She will sometimes hire friends to send out packages, or her sister, a former NASA rocket scientist, to cut up the mirror tiles. But as for the actual creation, she prefers to work alone.
“I don’t want to make the labor someone else’s,” Misbin told the L.A. Times while assembling one of her hats. “I enjoy making them myself. That’s the fun part for me.”
A Beyoncé fan, Misbin first saw the multi-Grammy winner don a cowboy hat during a performance at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia at her “Formation” tour.
Although Beyoncé is making a stop in Philadelphia again this July, Misbin doesn’t plan to buy tickets. Instead, she and her friends will be outside the stadium peddling cowboy hats.